More than 100 U.S. Marines launched an air assault in the southern Syrian desert backed by artillery fire to send a “strong message” to Russia not to send their forces inside a restricted area near an American military outpost, two U.S. defense officials have told Fox News. The show of forces comes as the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey are meeting Friday in Tehran to hammer out their next steps in the seven-

year Syrian civil war ahead of an expected offensive led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces into the country’s northwest Idlib Province. On two separate occasions this month (Sept. 1 and Sept. 6), the Russian military warned its American counterparts of its intention to conduct a military operation in southern Syria near the At Tanf garrison where U.S. special operations forces are located. READ MORE